Australia on Tuesday abolished a visa programme used by over 95,000 temporary foreign workers, majority of them Indians, to tackle the growing unemployment in the country.
The programme, known as 457 visa, allows businesses to employ foreign workers for a period of up to four years in skilled jobs where there is a shortage of Australian workers.
Malcolm Turnbull, Australian Prime MinisterWe are an immigration nation, but the fact remains: Australian workers must have priority for Australian jobs, so we are abolishing the 457 visa, the visa that brings temporary foreign workers into our country.
Many of the visa holders are from India, followed by the UK and China.
"We will no longer allow 457 visa to be passports to jobs that could and should go to Australians," he said. He added that Australia will adopt a new 'Australians first' approach to skilled migration.
As of 30 September, there were 95,757 workers in Australia on primary 457 visa programme, ABC reported. The programme will be replaced by another visa programme, with new restrictions.
It is important that businesses still get access to the skills they need to grow and invest, so the 457 visa will be replaced by a new temporary visa, specifically designed to recruit the best and brightest in the national interest.
Turnbull said the new programme will ensure that foreign workers are brought into Australia to fill critical skill gaps, and not because an employer finds it easier to recruit a foreign worker than go through the trouble of hiring an Australian.
Turnbull's announcement comes days after he visited India where a range of issues, including national security, counter terrorism, education and energy, were discussed and six agreements were signed.
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